Doctor Who Movie Available In America on DVD

For years, you couldn’t get the Doctor Who movie on American DVD. Legal rights issues made it unavailable here — although it was available in the U.K. That never really seemed fair to me — but no matter. The problem has been solved.

Now, you can see it here and judge it for yourself.

Doctor Who: The Movie (Special Edition) — available from Amazon — a British-American joint venture aimed at potentially launching a new TV series on Fox, is routinely slammed among Doctor Who fans as a nasty and aborted chapter in Doctor Who history best locked away and forgotten.

But it’s not that bad. It’s just as entertaining as most Doctor Who episodes.

Paul McGann’s Doctor is funny, quirky and intense – perfect to follow Sylvester McCoy’s reign as the Time Lord. In fact, McCoy gets the first twenty minutes of the film to himself before the Frankenstein-themed regeneration sequence. The Seventh Doctor’s final appearance is a strong performance and perhaps the best part of the movie.

The Doctor movie has much more to come, however.

Once Paul McGann settles in, the plot gets murky and takes turns most Who purists wish it had not. The fact that McGann’s Doctor is half human is an integral part of the plot and can’t be swept under the carpet as easily as some fan would like. The effort even features an American-style car chase, of course. The Eighth Doctor’s performance, however, is solid throughout.

The TARDIS stars in this story alongside The Doctor, Grace, Lee and The Master. Even when poor camera work in some of the TARDIS scenes makes the mostly adequate special effects look like spray-painted Styrofoam and flashing lights, the time machine looks grander than ever. Even the high-tech TARDIS of the new series pales beside this one. The old girl has class.

While Yee Jee Tso’s performance as Lee is wooden and amateurish, he does not have enough dialog to do much serious damage to the production. Eric Roberts first does a nice impression of the previous Master’s voice, but after a line about getting used to his new body, Roberts’ own mannerisms turn a menacing foe into something that eventually becomes like a perturbed Liberace.

The plot of the Doctor Who movie wraps up with convoluted convenience, but the story ultimately does not leave a bad taste in the mouth. It’s a good effort and worth seeing. Just don’t watch too closely.

Star Wars vs Star Trek: The Rivalry Continues on DVD

Is there a Star Trek versus Star Wars rivalry? It may seem a trite or useless question, but it’s one that people who do actually sometimes consider, and it’s the topic of a DVD you may want to watch.

Whether there is genuinely a rivalry between fans of Star Trek and Star Wars productions or whether these franchises have actually mostly the same fans, as I suspect, you won’t get much of a sense of it from watching Star Wars vs. Star Trek: The Rivalry Continues — available from Amazon.

Don’t let that discourage you from buying this DVD, however. It’s great fun to watch. It’s so bad it’s actually good.

I’m a fan of Star Trek and will watch anything Paramount offers that is even vaguely related to the Enterprise, Starfleet or Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future universe. I’ve never seen a Star Wars movie, although I admit to trying to watch one once. For me, there is no rivalry.

A Star Wars vs Star Trek rivalry? Not as far as I’m concerned.

Star Trek wins hands down. Still, I thought an examination of the perceived rivalry would be entertaining.

While the 50-minute documentary includes some interesting interview snippets and a couple of Star Trek

bloopers, there is very little real content. A few fans of the two franchises are interviewed, but producers managed to gather no truly insightful or entertaining comments. The production’s key question, “Is there a rivalry between Star Trek and Star Wars fans?”, goes mostly unanswered.

The documentary’s biggest problems are technical, however. Once viewers get past the stuffy announcer, very poor quality video makes the production look even worse than it really it. The images of Star Trek’s original series are blurry bootlegs, while almost all other images are from trailers and press photos.

Sloppy editors even show a nice head shot of DeForest Kelley to introduce an interview sound bite from Star Trek guest actor Michael Forest.

On my DVD player, the documentary starts playing immediately upon inserting the disc. I only learned about the menu and special features later.

Short additional interview material is unintentionally humorous, from a confused Carrie Fisher being interviewed in English and Spanish at the same time to an ultimately useless interview (from the late 1970s but strangely in black and white) with an arrogant William Shatner that fades away mid-sentence.

Amateur footage from the opening of the Star Trek Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton and some Star Wars fan footage that I didn’t bother to watch are also included.

Still, while you may be included to boldly go elsewhere, true devotees of either franchise need to see this DVD so they can write humorous and biting blog and message board posts about it. And it’s at least interesting to watch.

So what about that Star Trek vs Star Wars rivalry? You’ll have to decide that for yourself, but this fun (if not compelling) DVD won’t help you decide.